The Book of Ezra

Introduction

In the book of Ezra, the Israelites are finally given the chance to return to their homeland, the people started to rebuild the temple, only to be stopped by opposition from their enemies. God’s work in the world is not without opposition. We must not get discouraged and quit, as the returning people did at first, but continue on boldly min the face of difficulties, as they did later with the encouragement from the prophets.

Ezra returned to Jerusalem almost 80 years after Zerubbabel, only to discover that the people had married pagan or foreign spouses. This polluted the religious purity of the people and endangered the future of the nation. Believers today must be careful not to threaten their walk with God by taking on the practices of unbelievers.

Ezra was a priest, scribe, and a great leader. His name means “help,” and his whole life was dedicated to serving God and God’s people. Tradition says that Ezra wrote most of First Chronicles and Second Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Psalm 119, and that he led the council of 120 men who formed the Old Testament canon. He centers the narrative of the book of Ezra around God and his promise. This message formed the core of Ezra’s life. The last half of the book gives a very personal glimpse of Ezra. His knowledge of Scripture and his God-given wisdom were so obvious to the king that he appointed Ezra to lead the second emigration to Jerusalem, to teach the people God’s Word, and to administer national life.

Ezra not only new God’s word, he believed and obeyed it. Upon learning of the Israelites’ sin of intermarriage and idolatry, Ezra fell in humility before God and prayed for the nation. Their disobedience touched him deeply. His response helped lead the people back to God.

Read Ezra, the book, and remember Ezra the man – a humble, obedient helper. Commit yourself to serving God as he did, with your whole life.

Writer:

Not stated, but probably Ezra.

Date Written:

Around 450 B.C., recording events from about 538 – 450 B.C. (omitting 516-458 B.C.); possibly begun earlier in Babylon and finished in Jerusalem.

Purpose:

To show God’s faithfulness and the way he kept his promise to restore his people to their land.

Complete Outline:

To download a PDF outline of the Book of Ezra click here.


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